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  1. #1
    wojtek's Avatar
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    new to cad / desktop CNC

    Hi All,

    Though I have experience in graphics and video editing software, i am a newbie when it comes to cad. I have played around with Sketchup, and looks to be something easy yo pick up.

    I am looking for opinions / advice on two things,

    one, i need to get set up with either ( or both ) a cnc router and/or a laser cutter. For the laser cutter it looks like FullSpectrum laser's hobby desktop laser will fill my needs. With the laser, I can get away with 2d images at first anyway, so cad would not be an issue until i start designing more ..

    as for a CNC machine, i have been seeing good reviews on this :

    http://www.carving-cnc.com/cnc6040-s...g-machine.html


    I am thinking of also going with the 4th axis attachment for multidimensional parts . For $100 more, i can even get a digitizing probe to work with the MACH 3 software the controller / steppers run on . Does anyone here have any experience with these types of CNC routers ?


    to follow that up, whatwould be some cad software package recommendations ? My primary goal is to cut out highly detailed custom instrument panels and instruments ..( like the holes for the instruments themselves, the bezels, layers, switches etc . ) Beyond Sketchup, what other CAD packages should I look at ? im looking to be cost conscious , however will spend $ where it makes sense to ...

    Here is what I am looking to get this setup going for :

    www.voy-tech.com









    thanks for any suggestions


    ~V~
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  2. #2

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    RE: new to cad / desktop CNC

    First, that is some awsome work.

    First the machine. The one you posted looks as if it is basicly a router. I wouldn't call it a milling machine, but it should do OK for light dutty cuttinig. The work envlope is something to consider. The machines never seem to be big enough after your first couple jobs. Ihave a Taig mill that I did a CNC conversion on. It's limits are X-12",Y-5.5", and Z-6".out ofthe 6" Z, you have to consider the tooling length and work setup.I don't know the maximum size you will be working with, but take that size and add a couple inches for clamps and such on each end and side and you should be good to go.

    The Cad software I use is Rhino 3D. I looked at a lot of different packages, but this one seem to fit me. Ican make simple 2D drawings or complex full 3d ones. Imostly work in 2 and 2 1/2D works. From Rhino, Ican output an STL file for Meshcam for 3|D milling, or a DXF file for SheetCam whiich Iuse mostly. The 1/2D is accomplished with depth of cuts and layered drawings. I tend to favor Sheetcam as it is very powerful and not very expensive. Both Mesh Cam and SheetCam outputs Gcode. That Gcode is fed into the last software backage, Mach3, which converts the G code to move instructions for your machine. Again, it is avery powerful software package at a reasonable price. Mach3 runs on the PCthat controls my mill electronics. Rhino, Meshcam, and Sheetcam all run on my office machine.

    You can download and try all of these.

    Mach3 http://www.machsupport.com/ $175

    SheetCam http://www.sheetcam.com/ $175

    Meshcam http://www.grzsoftware.com/ $250

    Rhino3D http://www.rhino3d.com/ $995 (student price is $195, and it is full featured, but not for comerical use)

    There are bundles of Sheetcam/Mach3, and Meshcam/Mach3. that will bring the total down a bit.

    These are what I use. There are a lot of other packages out there, most are more expensive, few have more power and flexability. Some are just junk, and others are highly recomended. You have a lot of choices.

    Don

  3. #3
    saramos's Avatar
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    RE: new to cad / desktop CNC

    I have a CNC Shark. It's work area is 13" x 24" x 4" and it is a bit small for some stuff, and has too much flex for other stuff. The one you listed has a much smaller work area, but it's construction looks good. I too come from a graphics background and currently do most of my work in Corel Draw. Interestingly, .cdr files are used by some of the laser cutters out there. Most any CAD program will be adequate for 2D work. For full 3D work, there are a couple of freebies such as Schetchup and 123D from Autodesk (the AutoCAD people). Of the two, Schetchup is the easier and 123D is the more powerful. Interestingly, it is difficult (or even impossible) to port in a 2D CAD drawing to use as the basis of a 3D CAD drawing. Another application that you might consider if you get into model design is Compufoil. Two items I'd love to have are a CNC Mill such as the Sherline, and a 3D printer such as the Replicator 2 from Makerbot.

    Scott

  4. #4

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    RE: new to cad / desktop CNC


    ORIGINAL: saramos

    Interestingly, it is difficult (or even impossible) to port in a 2D CAD drawing to use as the basis of a 3D CAD drawing. Scott
    Boy, is that a true statement. I'm a long way from being an expert in this, but I've found you need to plan how you intend to machine the part as you are drawing it. For most things, a 2D drawing is all you need. You can layer the drawing to give depth to the machined part, but you have to plan how the cutting is going to go as you are doing the drawing.

    The 3D drawings, Rhino include requires you to develop a surface that can be machined.

    A drawing done for Meshcam, just won't work for Sheetcam and the reverse it true. If you are going to cut ply and balsa parts, then you what a 2D drawing to work with. If you are going to machine, say the face of a pilot for your model, then a full 3D drawing is going to be required.

    Another point on 3D machining. Full function 4 axis CAM software is going to be very expensive. Programs such as Meshcam take the approach of indexed 2 1/2D machining. This is quite different than a coordinated four axis move.

    There is one package. CNCToolkit that does generate coordinated four, and five axis moves. You can find it on Yahooo Groups. I followed it for a while, but the CAD software, although free was difficult to use, at least for my 2D mindset. The work it produces is impressive though.

    The issue is, "will your CAD and CAM software generate coordinated four axis moves.And do your really need that for what you are going to cut.
    Don



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